Wednesday 8 February 2017 7:06 pm

McLaren's opening a £50m supercar chassis facility in Sheffield

Supercar maker McLaren is revving up the UK's manufacturing credentials with the announcement it's moving production of carbon fire chassis from Austria to the UK.

It's moving into Sheffield with a £50m investment in manufacturing facilities, creating 200 jobs in the process, as the firm looks to launch a production facility next to the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) near Rotherham.

The facility will create McLaren's lightweight carbon fibre chassis for its new models from 2020 and marks its first UK base outside Woking. The centre is due to open in 2020 and is expected to bolster the local economy by £100m annually by 2028.

Mike Flewitt, McLaren Automotive's chief executive, said:

In 1981, McLaren was the first company to recognise the exception properties of carbon fibre, and we have designed the highly-technical material to be at the heart of every McLaren road and racing car ever since.

The now-iconic McLaren F1 was the world's first road car to be built with a carbon fibre chassis and every car built more recently by McLaren Automotive has the same.

Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step.

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean at the University of Sheffield's AMRC, said it was "a tremendous piece of news" for the region, as well as a boost for its future as the UK's hub for advanced manufacturing.

McLaren is investing £1bn over six years to more than double annual production to 5,000 cars.

It marks the latest pledge of investment from the car industry, after Nissan said it will be building new models at its Sunderland plant and Aston Martin reconfirmed a Welsh factory. 

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However, the boss of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned of stalling investment in the UK's automotive industry. Mike Hawes said companies were "at least sitting on their hands" until there is more clarity on Brexit plans.